The NSW Cap & Pipe the Bores Program is a jointly funded Commonwealth and State initiative that operates within the Australian Government's Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative framework. Under the Water Sharing Plan for the NSW Great Artesian Basin Groundwater Sources 2008, 70 per cent of the water savings made since 1999 shall be retained in the aquifers of the Basin to improve pressures and provide for groundwater dependent ecosystems. The remaining 30 per cent of the water savings may be released to extractive users over the term of the Water Sharing Plan to facilitate the continued economic and social welfare of regional western NSW. As the first step in this water release, part of the water savings from the Cap & Pipe the Bores program were auctioned in July 2009 in the western NSW town of Walgett. All lots offered at auction were sold. The study reviews the pre auction analysis of demand, and outlines the auction process and outcomes as well as the implications for future water sales. The outcomes of the auction will inform ongoing water allocation policy.


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